Watch: Darren Aronofsky’s Symmetry Contains Explosive Energy

Watch: Darren Aronofsky’s Symmetry Contains Explosive Energy

It’s easy enough to comment on the excess running through Darren Aronofsky’s films: the sex, the flesh, the drugs, the decadence, the violence, the loneliness, the despair–but what if the allure of his films lies elsewhere? What if the real reason we pay attention to them is because of the way the excess is packaged: in symmetrical frames, and sometimes in spirals that offset those frames? This video by Studio Little dances us through Aronofsky’s films, from ‘Black Swan’ to ‘Requiem for a Dream’ to ‘The Wrestler’ to ‘Noah’ to ‘Pi,’ showing us that, time after time, the element keeping us watching is the order, not the disorder.

Watch: Reaction Shots In Movies: The Self, Exposed

Watch: Reaction Shots In Movies: The Self, Exposed

The human face is a funny thing. We like to think we are in complete control of our facial expressions most of the time, but in fact we are not. You might grimace at receiving news of a colleague’s success. You might smile inappropriately at hearing bad news about someone you know. Only the person you’re talking to, e.g., the "viewer," knows for sure what you seem to be thinking, if that makes sense. And yet, we place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of facial expressions in communications: if the lips say yes, are the eyes saying no? What does that furrowing of the eyebrows mean? And so on. Is it possible that the way humans communicate with each other in this age has been shaped by the movies? This video essay by Must See Films about reaction shots takes us past some of the most memorable movies ever made; we see Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp rejoicing at a declaration of love, Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance receiving the full brunt of the horror of his imagination in ‘The Shining,’ Mickey Rourke’s wrestler taking in the decay of his body in opposition to the world around him in ‘The Wrestler,’ and many others. The characters’ expressions don’t seem staged or unnatural in relation to the events taking place on screen–in fact they seem imitable, the kinds of expressions we might put on in certain circumstances. Or are they? How can we know?